‘Elves and More’ show the true spirit of Christmas

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AKRON - The blaring sound of a police siren rarely means good news in the Summit Lake neighborhood of Akron.

Sunday was different.

Police cars led a convoy of "XPO" trucks carrying over 1,100 bikes to be passed out to children in need - just in time for Christmas.

"I am so excited," shrieked Terrie Nurse, as each of her grandchildren received a bike.

"I didn't buy them bikes, but I'd promised to, but I couldn't because I got into a car accident," she said. "But now they all have bikes, so praise God!"

The annual giveaway is the work of "Elves and More," an organization that's been doing this in Akron since 2006.

It is the brainchild of co-founders Brian Miner and Tim House, who were inspired by a similar program in Houston.

Miner says the Houston founder once asked two teens why they weren't riding the bikes as soon as they received them.

Their answer - they were saving them for Christmas because they had never received a gift on Christmas.

"That's not just in Houston," Miner says, "that's Akron, and Cleveland, and Youngstown."

Volunteers build the bike one weekend, and then head out to the neighborhoods (this year, Summit Lake and Barberton) the next weekend to deliver them.

"It's a treat and a pleasure to do it every year," says XPO truck driver Dwayne Gilpin.

Veatrice Smith says her boys' bikes were stolen this past summer.

But now, she says, they will have "beautiful bikes" for Christmas.

Since its inception, "Elves and More" has given away over 11,000 bikes in Summit County.